Lindsey R. Loucks

Untangle Your Heart

Category: 13 Questions

13 Questions & A Head Full of Ghosts w/ @paulGtremblay

Hey, peoples! Winter is the perfect reading time because it’s too cold to do much else (seriously, why don’t humans hibernate?), and I’ve been doing A LOT of reading!

One book that has skyrocketed to Unforgettable status was Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts. You can see my full review here, but to summarize, I’ll never be the same person I was before I read this book!


I reached out to Paul on Twitter to gush at him, and he’s such a cool, classy dude, that he responded back! Not all authors do that. 🙁 (Side note – I’m a happy-go-lucky author, so you can totally hit me up on social media!)

Anyway, I asked Paul if he would be willing to be interviewed, and he said YES! Fangirl squee!!! Read on!

Me: Hey, Paul! You’re on the board of directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards, an author who was (and still is) amazingly badass. What’s your favorite Shirley Jackson novel or short story…and go!

Paul: She’s the best! My favorite Jackson novel is WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE. Merry’s name is certainly a hap-tip to Merricat Blackwood. My favorite short story is “The Intoxicated.” It’s such a wonderfully understated social missive and quite frightening as well. I wrote a bit about Jackson and “The Intoxicated” here:

Me: We Have Always Lived in the Castle is good! I haven’t read “The Intoxicated”, but I’ll remedy that! Moving on, have you or have you not ever been possessed by a demon?

Paul: I have not. As far as I know. Maybe I’ve been possessed my whole life. That would be weird, eh?

Me: Why do you suppose that is?

Paul: Because there’s no such thing as demons and possession. *knock on wood*

Me: If you say so. Your portrayal of an eight-year-old girl is astonishingly accurate. How did you come up with the character of Merry?

Paul: Thank you! I do think that writing kids is a strength of mine. Many of my short stories (and novels for that matter) are from the point of view of children or parents dealing with children. I’ve been a high school teacher by day for a long time and I’ve never really left school-year calendar. So I live like a kid still. And, my daughter was a great model for Merry. She was the same age as Merry when I was writing the book and much of her shenanigans (and my son’s too) made it into the book.

Me: Very cool. A Head Full of Ghosts is on its way to the big screen. (Yay!!!) What’s that like? Will you be involved in the production of the movie at all?

Paul: It’s in development and hopefully it makes it to production and the big screen. Regardless, the possibilities and process so far has been exciting, and kind of surreal. I won’t be officially involved but the two screenwriters chat with me and keep me in the loop, which is a lot of fun. I rewarded them with immortality by combining them into a single character in a short story that I just wrote. Nothing nice really happens to their characters, so, I’m not sure how rewarded they feel. Wait, I’ll tell them how they should feel….

Me: Do you watch much reality television?

Paul: Not so much these days. I used to watch many of the faux-science reality shows mentioned in the novel. And I’ll admit that I used to watch Survivor all the time.

Me: You’re a very friendly author. Please explain.

Paul: I’m possessed by a demon and I want to infect as many other people as possible.

That’s nice of you to say. We writers are stuck in our own heads so much of the time it makes sense to me to try to be social and have fun online. But I do have my enemies. I have a list!

Me: I have a list, too, and one day my enemies will be made into characters in my books! *insert evil laugh* What kind of research did you do regarding exorcisms? Google? Interviews? A combination of both?

Paul: Aside from a life spent watching horror movies and reading books I did all my research online. I really don’t enjoy research. Feels like work. It is work! I’d rather make it all up. But I did research the text of the catholic rite and other oddities related to exorcism.

Me: Do you have any weird writing quirks?

Paul: I use the blood of my aforementioned enemies as ink!

Nah, nothing weird that I’m aware of. Maybe that I frequently write to the soundtrack of the movie Ravenous. I don’t know if it’s weird but regardless if it’s a novel or short story, I start writing in the beginning and work my way though in order to the end. I never skip ahead or around and write scenes out of their order. Sometimes I wish I could be more free-flowing like that. And sometimes I wish my keyboard was made of chocolate.

Me: Hmm, a chocolate keyboard…I think I’ll go with intravenous chocolate instead! Do you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

Paul: Settler. I hate moving. It’s the worst.

Me: Fair enough. What kind of jobs have you had, and which one do you miss the most?

Paul: For most of my adult life I’ve been a math teacher and coach (JV high school basketball, middle school football). In my younger days I worked as a material handler on a Parker Brothers assembly line, unloaded trucks filled with toys and games, spent two weeks testing a Nintendo game that never made it to market (Drac’s Night Out), and the worst job was being part of a clean-up crew at a Kraft food service warehouse. I don’t really miss any of those jobs, and I don’t miss the one I currently have.

Me: What are you going to do right after this interview?

Paul: Either continue reading Stephen Graham Jones’s forthcoming novel MONGRELS or continue to pick through my last pass pages for Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

MeWhich comes out June 21st, people! Don’t forget it! What’s your favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise?

Paul: I try not to drink it much anymore, but Coke. Not Pepsi. Pepsi sucks. I’m a recent tea convert as well. Some kind of flavored black tea works. With honey. And then there’s beer. I’ve been on a Belgian style kick lately.


Mmm, beer. Mmm, chocolate. Well, time to go! Thank you SO much, Paul, for being here!


.@rlbelliston Has Never Been to Another Planet (Or Has She?): 13 Questions

Hey, peeps! My author sister, Rebecca Belliston, is here today to answer 13 zany questions and tell us a little about her book, Citizens of Logan Pond: LIFE! Let’s go!


Me: Did you learn anything today? If so, what?

Rebecca: I feel like I learn something new every single day. Today had many fun experiences, like if you let your son take his temperature after he eats oatmeal, it will show he has a fever which will persuade you to let him stay home from school. #motherfacepalm Because he stayed home with me today, most things I learned revolved around a six-year-old brain, including how to play a Geometry Dash song on the piano. Hopefully with him in school tomorrow, I’ll learn something a little more adult-ish.


Me: Smart kid! Where did the idea for Life (Citizens of Logan Pond) come from?

Rebecca: I was sitting around with my family talking about earthquakes, wars, famines, and all that cheery stuff, and I got to thinking, What if the end of civilization as we know it doesn’t come from some big catastrophe? What if it comes from the absence of one small thing: the dollar.


Me: Ooooh, color me intrigued! What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?

Rebecca: Only one? Hmmm. I can type 90wpm but I am the world’s slowest texter. I also whine too much. Sleep too long. Hate shoes. (I could go on.)


Me: What’s the name of the book you’re reading?

Rebecca: Right now I’m listening to Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. His writing style fascinates me. I would love to read every one of his books.


Me: What scares you?

Rebecca: The world. I have three teenagers and almost on a daily basis I tell them how much I hate the world they live in. It’s horribly vulgar and depressing. I wish I could put all of my kids in little bubbles. (I’ve offered but they refuse)


Me: Why do you write?

Rebecca: I LOVE the process, start to finish. I’ve always been a daydreamer. Writing is like the ultimate form of daydreaming, being able to explore every single “What if…?” question I can come up with.


Me: What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?

Rebecca: I just finished listening to the Piano Guys “Ants Marching” song. I love the Piano Guys. 🙂


Me: What makes you laugh?

Rebecca: Usually my kids or my hubby. They’re all extremely weird.


Me: Weird is awesome! What’s your favorite planet? Why?

Rebecca: Wow. Umm…earth? I know I said I hated it in question #5, but that’s just the general decay of society. Earth itself is gloriously beautiful. Plus I’ve never been to any of the others, so…


Me: You mean you’ve never been kidnapped by aliens?! Anyway, here’s a free plane ticket! Where would you like to go?

Rebecca: Israel. I’ve been twice and it’s spectacular and fascinating.


Me: You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?

Rebecca: Go to my computer to de-stress.


Me: What’s the one physical object you can’t live without?

Rebecca: Beyond water, food, and shelter kind of stuff (which I have to add because my book deals with characters who don’t have those basic things), I’d have to say my computer. See #11.


Me: Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life or feel like you need to sneeze but not be able to for the rest of your life?

Rebecca: Ha! Feel like I need to sneeze because that would only annoy myself. Having hiccups would annoy everyone else too.


Thanks you for the fun questions Lindsey, and for letting me visit your blog!

You’re welcome back any time, Rebecca! Now here’s more info about Citizens of Logan Pond: LIFE and Rebecca!

Life 300
Her home. Her parents. Her freedom. Gone.
His dreams. His sister. Himself. Lost.
Two people. 
One future.
The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: grow crops to feed thirty-six people, and keep Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman, happy. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.
When a government raid nearly wipes out their clan, Greg realizes the true reason behind their safety. Patrolman Simmons has fallen for Carrie. Greg takes it upon himself to give the socially-awkward patrolman what he wants. Only Carrie doesn’t like Greg throwing her in Simmon’s path, especially when Greg’s brusque exterior melts, and she catches a glimpse of the real man underneath. Carrie is forced to choose: follow her heart or save her clan.
Life won’t let her choose both.
More on: 
Author Bio:
Rebecca Belliston
Rebecca Lund Belliston is the author of the bestselling LDS romantic suspense novel, Sadie, its sequel, Augustina, and a new trilogy entitled Citizens of Logan Pond. Rebecca also composes piano and vocal music. When she’s not writing fiction, music, or chasing her five kids, she can be found cuddled up with a good book. She and her family live in Michigan.

A Great Halloween Read: Hell Hole by @huntershea1

I don’t really do book reviews on my blog anymore, but for Hunter Shea, I made an exception for his blog tour for Hell Hole. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite horror authors, and not just because he’s a genuinely nice person either. Although, yes, there is that, too. See, I was becoming frustrated with the books I’d read because the females in them were weak and vapid lumps. Then I read Hunter’s Sinister Entity about a kick-ass female ghost-hunter, and I was so thankful, I actually sent Hunter an email professing my gratefulness. And he wrote me back!


Anyway, Hunter agreed to answer some of my wacky questions for your reading enjoyment, and I promise you’ll actually enjoy reading his thoughtful and creative answers!


Here we go!


Me: The zombie apocalypse is here. You’re going to fight them off with the first thing you see on your left. What is it?

 Hunter: That would be the water bottle I got at this year’s Warped Tour. It is pretty sturdy. I think I could knock a few brains out with it. And it’s handy to keep me hydrated while I make myself through the zombie horde.



Me: Did you learn anything today? If so, what?

Hunter: I learned that the cemetery I grew up across the street from in the Bronx, Woodlawn Cemetery, was involved in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. I was listening to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast and he had on someone that’s been investigating the case for years. Some pretty nefarious stuff went down in my so-called home cemetery. So glad I spent my childhood staring at those tombstones outside my window.


Me: Oh, cool! What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?

Hunter: No matter how hard I try, I just can’t pick the right numbers to win the damn lottery. It won’t take much to make me happy. I don’t need Power Ball returns. I wouldn’t say no to them, either. I can also be a sarcastic pain in the butt. Wait, I like that part about myself.


Me: What scares you?

Hunter: Oh Lord, how much time do you have? Illness. Without your health and the health of the people you love, life can be a misery. People breaking in to the house. Flying. The more flying I’ve done, the worse my fear gets. Our political system here in Amercia. It’s so fundamentally broken, I don’t think it can be fixed.


Me: Why do you write?

Hunter: I just love telling a good story. Even if I was writing for an audience of one, I’d still sit my butt down and write every day. I am not a numbers guy and pay little attention to them. Being able to weave a story that will entertain someone, and if I’m lucky, scare them, is what I feel I was born to do.


Me: And you do it so well! What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?

Hunter: I just listened to Prince’s Raspberry Beret on my iPod here at work. I think his musical genius – and that’s no exaggeration – is underappreciated because of all the strange things he’s said and done over the years. I used to be a Prince fanatic. Not so much now that I’m older with a thousand distractions. I got to see him once and it was the closest thing to a religious experience a person can have outside of church.


Me: I’ve had some musical religious experiences myself! What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Hunter: Easy. I stood watching a man have a shootout with a moving car as they went past me, bullets whizzing by. I didn’t even duck. I was mesmerized by the insanity unfolding right in front of my eyes. It wasn’t until they turned the corner that I fully realized what had happened and how I’d almost gotten shot.


Me: WOW! That’s crazy! You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?

Hunter: Say hi to my wife and kids. Ask the girls how school went. From that point, nothing is ever the same twice.


Me: What’s the one physical object you can’t live without?

Hunter: It’s amazing how much my iPod Nano has become a part of my life. Aside from being a music lover, I’m a podcast junkie. That iPod is either plugged into headphones while I’m home, in my car or on the iHome in my office. I never cease to be amazed by how much I can store on something smaller then the palm of my hand.


Me: Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? Why?

Hunter: I’ll go with the werewolf. I’m already a hairy dude, so I’m halfway there. Plus, I’d like to just let the animalistic side take over from time to time. No second thoughts, no regrets. Just see and do.


Me: Fair enough. What are you going to do right after you finish this interview?

Hunter: I’m heading to the dentist to get nice new pics of my teeth. Cool part is, the office is a few houses away from one of the most haunted houses in the county. I plan to go have a look-see. Hmmm, I wonder if the owners will let me inside?


Me: That sounds amazing! Not the dentist part, the haunted house part. 😉 Do you have any strange writing quirks?

Hunter: This is a really weird one. Every time I sit down to write, I’m hit with an overwhelming urge to pee. Before I’m finished booting up my computer, I’d heading for the bathroom. I guess its all part of ‘getting everything out there’ for the story.


Me: You got to do what you got to do! Would you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

Hunter: I’m in the pioneer camp, solely because I hate going down easily trodden paths. Or better yet, I have to do everything the hard way. I could have had inside contacts help me with my early writing career, but I flatly refused, wanting to do it my way or no way at all. In college, I could have pledged a fraternity. But no, I had to start my own with a few guys and grow it into the biggest, and friendliest, frat on campus. I’m not a joiner. I either have to start things or just go it alone. I think I would have been very happy in the woods in a new continent, working all day to create a new life for myself and my family. Plus, I wouldn’t have to shave or cut my hair. Wild man of the untamed frontier!



Awesome! Now that you’ve seen the awesomeness that is Hunter Shea, here’s my review of Hell Hole!



Ever since I read Hunter Shea’s Sinister Entity, I’ve become a creepy fan girl and have vowed to read everything he ever writes. He already knows I’m stalking him, so it’s all good! *insert evil laugh*

As with all of Hunter’s books, one of Hell Hole‘s strengths is its characters. They’re living, breathing people with back stories that make them three dimensional. Nat and Teta’s personalities, as well as their unbreakable friendship, solidified both of them inside my head, even long after the story ended. Witnessing them deal with some of the horrific twists and turns in the book sped my heart rate since I’d come to care about them.

And speaking of the horrific twists and turns, there were plenty of WTF moments and bursts of speed-reading to quickly find out what happened next. The very beginning, however, plodded along for several chapters, and I while I understand the need to give the story a foundation to stand on, there were several instances where I wondered if this scene or that progressed the story and if it was really needed. But when Nat and Teta finally reach their destination, the book really got moving.

If you’re in the mood for a creepy story to put you in the Halloween mood (which should be celebrated all year long), this would be a good place to start. Then you can be a Hunter Shea creepy fan girl with me!


Rating – 4 stars


Find out more about Hunter and his books at his website!


13 Questions With Love’s Sweet Sorrow Author Richard Brawer

It’s Friday! Richard Brawer is here to celebrate that fact, answer some questions, and tell us a little about his novel Love’s Sweet Sorrow. Here we go!


Me: Did you learn anything today? If so, what?


Richard: That my grandchildren had a great time at Disneyland in California.


Me: Yay Disneyland! Where did the idea for Love’s Sweet Sorrow come from?


Richard: The original idea came from a newspaper article about arms smuggling. All my novels have a strong female character to challenge the protagonist. I was having trouble creating the female character for “Love’s Sweet Sorrow” so I put the book aside and went to explore one of my favorite pastimes, local history. Shrewsbury, NJ, a town twenty minutes north of mine, was having an Octoberfest. Shrewsbury was founded in the 1660s and one section of the town was on the National Historical Register.


In the historical district was a Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers) meeting house also founded in the 1660s. The Quakers were giving a tour of their meeting house.  During the tour, informational brochures were passed out. The Quaker information was particularly interesting.


For most readers, it is the conflicts between the characters and how those conflicts will be resolved that keep readers turning the pages. Jason, my protagonist, is the head of the legal department of America’s largest weapons manufacturer. As I read the Quaker brochures, I thought, why not make his love interest a Quaker. What could be more opposite and create more conflicts than having the protagonist work for a weapons manufacturer and his love a pacifist?


Thus Ariel was born and the novel quickly changed from strictly suspense novel to a romantic suspense novel.


Me: That’s really cool! What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?


Richard: I tend to be a perfectionist, possibly obsessive-compulsive for some things.


Me: I can relate. What’s the name of the book you’re reading?


Richard: Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann


Me: What scares you?


Richard: Heights


Me: Pop or soda or soda pop or Coke?


Richard: Soda. Pepsi. I live in NJ. We don’t use the word pop for soda. I believe pop is a Midwestern term.


Me: Why do you write?


Richard: I have a vivid imagination. I like to use it to create and solve mysteries and put my protagonists in what seems like un-escapable situations then logically free my character.


Me: What is your favorite salty treat?


Richard: Potato chips


Me: What makes you laugh?


Richard: A good joke


Me: What’s your favorite planet?


Richard: Earth


Me: Cats or dogs?


Richard: Neither


Me: Fair enough! What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?


Richard: When I was sailing I got caught up in a rip tide in a tidal river.


Me: Here’s a free plane ticket! Where would you like to go?


Richard: To California to visit my grandchildren.


Sounds like a great time! Here’s more about Love’s Sweet Sorrow, a romantic suspense novel:


Cover LovesSweetSorrow

It is said opposites attract. There can’t be two people more opposite than Ariel and Jason. Ariel is a traditional Quaker with an absolute aversion to war. Jason is the lead council for America’s largest weapons manufacturer.


Their budding romance is thrown into turmoil when Jason uncovers evidence linking his employer to international arms deals that could devastate America. His determination to stop the treason puts Ariel in the middle of dangerous territory.


Praise for Love’s Sweet Sorrow:

Exciting thriller and love story extraordinaire! – Mortimer


“Excellent writing, impeccable plotting, and nicely developed characters. – Shoshana Hathaway


“Your writing is very strong, and you have developed a gripping story. – The Writer’s Edge


I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see if they were able to resolve their differences or if they would split up. An enjoyable read from beginning to end.” – GBP An avid reader


“The characters and the plot are extremely well-crafted. The Drama is riveting.” – S. Lynn


“Wow! What a book. Nonstop action and it was hard to put the book down.” – Mystery Fan


Love’s Sweet Sorrow is available in a trade paperback and e-book wherever books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


About the author:

Richard Brawer Author Pic

Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing and exploring local history.  He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife. Read more about Richard and his books at his website.



Thanks for being here, Richard!


13 Questions with The Devil Made Me Do It Author @sromkey

2000x1333I love this cover! It’s so eerie! Fun fact – it was designed by the Liliana Sanches, the same cover designer who did The Grave Winner and What Gifts She Carried!


The Devil Made Me Do It

Book Two: Speak of the Devil series

By Shawna Romkey


Coming July 1 – Go to hell!


The demons strike back!


Lily is working with the angels to stifle the last of the demon outbreaks and to figure out how to stop the Silence of God, so life can get back to boring normality. But all hell breaks loose when she’s stolen from school and brought face to face with the devil himself. Lily has to find her way back home to Luc, crack the prophecy that breaks the curse silencing God, and figure out how she and Luc can ever really be together; but Lucifer has other plans for her that don’t include her ever getting out of Hell in tact.



Book One, Speak of the Devil, is currently on sale for $2.99 for the Kindle.





Why me? I asked this question a lot, when I died, when I lived, when I’d lost my friends, when I’d hooked up with angels, when I was chased by demons, so it seemed trivial to ask it now, but why me? Why couldn’t I have a regular non-angel boyfriend to make out with and not worry about ruining, well, everything for everybody everywhere?


Snap out of it, Lily, I told myself. You have an amazing ability and super-hot— too hot— angel boyfriend, a blessed life that someone upstairs seems to think is valuable and worthy of protection. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and girl up.


“Right, girl up. I can do this,” I said aloud. My body was under control finally and I felt like I could go back to class as long as we got a new scene to work on. But I’d hurt Luc. I had to talk to him. I had to fix it and make it right. He was suffering with this as much as I was and probably more so since he had to have that pious-angel behavior and all.


I stood to go, pushing the vanity chair back as I did so.


“Lily!” someone whispered.


“What?” I turned to see if Cassie was there.


“Lily, look!” It was difficult to tell if it was a male orfemale voice since it was a whisper.


The voice was coming from behind me. I looked back around – that’s when I saw the surface of the mirror tremble, as though it were liquid. It rippled from the center. “Lilith!” The whisper came from the mirror.


Too late I remembered something Luc and Belle had said about mirrors. The surface splashed out toward me, and though I reflexively turned away and pulled back, the watery mirror grabbed me with its newly formed reflective arms and pulled me inside.



Oooooh, I like that excerpt! Now it’s time to get to know Shawna a bit better with 13 Questions!

1. The zombie apocalypse is here. You’re going to fight them off with the first thing you see on your left. What is it?

My cell phone.


2. How do you like your vampires: not at all, sparkly, wearing a cape, or drinking blood from bottles? Why?

I do like vampires. Not sparkly. Capes are cool if it’s a period piece. Blood from bottles?  Hmmm, not so much. I think I just like them yummy… Ian Somerholder, Alexander Skarsgard. That type of thing. :p


3. Other than your release day, what is something you’re really looking forward to?

Cover reveals are especially fun! That’s when it becomes real. Then there’s holding the book in your hands for the first time. That’s fun, too.


4. What’s the name of the book you’re reading?

I’m reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.


5. Pop or soda or soda pop or Coke?

It was soda when I was in Missouri. I got ridiculed once I moved to Nova Scotia, so I’ve converted to pop.


6. What is your favorite salty treat?

Chips and salsa


7. What makes you laugh?

Everything. I’m easily amused. My friends think I’m the best audience ever, but they also leave my house thinking all their jokes are a lot funnier than they really are.


8. What’s the one physical object you can’t live without?

My cell phone or laptop. Don’t know what I’d do without them.


9. What are you going to do right after you finish this interview?

Maybe read outside. It’s a beautiful day.


10. Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life or feel like you need to sneeze but not be able to for the rest of your life? Why?

The latter. I hate hiccups.


11. Do you have any strange writing quirks? If so, what are they?

I write in bed, which may seem weird. It’s comfy and I use my laptop. I probably write a lot more sleeping scenes than other people do though.


12. Would you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

Pioneer. I’m a risk taker. I like variety and new things. I wouldn’t want to settle.


13. When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type, or do you like standard foods?

Adventurous as long as it isn’t gross. I wouldn’t survive on Fear Factor.


Good answers! You can find even more about Shawna below!


SR (3)22



Shawna Romkey, teacher by day, writer by night (or day or whenever anyone leaves her alone long enough to get some work done). Bestselling YA / NA paranormal author of Speak of the Devil. The second in the series, The Devil Made Me Do It, will release July 1.


Shawna is from Kansas City, Missouri, but resides in Nova Scotia in a house by the sea with her husband, two sons, and currently two dogs but that’s subject to change depending on the local homeless dog population.


For more info, check out her website at



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The Devil’s Temptation and Puppies: @ToniDePalma1 Explains

Two blog posts in one week?! I know. Just breathe in and out and give me a Pop Tart. Or I’ll give you a Pop Tart. Whatever.



Anyway, I’m happy because Toni De Palma is here to discuss her latest release The Devil’s Temptation, book two of The Devil’s Triangle series, and to answer my never-ending questions. Let’s get to the book first. First, this cover is gorgeous!



Here’s the blurb:

Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

It sounds awesome! You can grab a copy at Amazon. Go ahead and one click that baby. I’ll wait.

Now it’s time for my never-ending questioning of Toni (actually there’s only thirteen)!

Me: You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?

Toni: Hug my puppy. Chester is a Pekingese. I keep his hair short, which makes him look like a little brown meatloaf.

Me: Aww. That’s so sweet! I give my cat lots of cuddles too when I get home. He’ll gnaw off my hand if I don’t. What’s the one physical object you can’t live without?

Toni: My computer and IPhone (okay that’s two). I just got a Mac and am teaching myself Photoshop. Besides writing, I love photography.

Me: Oooh, Photoshop and photography! Am I predicting a future in cover design maybe? Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?

Toni: Being a werewolf would require major waxing, so vampire.

Me: HA! I love that answer! What are you going to do right after you finish this interview?

Toni: Watch Girls. I love that show!

Me: *Googles it, then immediately adds it to Netflix* What is your favorite dessert?

Toni: I love a good piece of dark chocolate.

Me: Yessssssss. Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life or feel like you need to sneeze but not be able to for the rest of your life?

Toni: My dad actually had hiccups for three days straight and I know how hard that is. Since I already have allergies, I’m used to needing to sneeze. Bring on the Kleenex.

Me: Do you have any strange writing quirks?

Toni: I need sunshine and love to write by a window.

Me: I prefer dark, depressing caves myself. Would you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

Toni: It depends on what aspect of life you’re talking about. I’m pretty easy going so I don’t see the point in fighting over being right. Does that make me a settler? Maybe. So be it.

Me: Cool! When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type, or do you like standard foods?

Toni: I grew up in Brooklyn where ethnic cuisine is standard. I love trying new foods.

Me: Yay! Me too! Where did the idea for the Devil’s Triangle series come from?

Toni: My son and I were hooked on the TV show Fringe. That gave me the idea of a story based on alternate realities. Cooper, my main character, was really the catalyst. He is such a great character, a bad boy with a good heart.

Me: I love me some bad boys. I watched the first few episodes of Fringe but couldn’t really get into it. Do I need to keep watching it? Anyway, what’s something about yourself that really annoys you?

Toni: I can be super critical of myself. I have to remember to celebrate my accomplishments rather than thinking about the next big thing I want to do.

Me: *sighs* Me too. Why do you write?

Toni: Last week I presented at a Young Authors conference. The kids I worked with reminded me of me when I was their age. So I write for them and for the kid I used to be.

Me: That’s the best answer ever! What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?

Toni: “Obsession.” An oldy but a goody.


Awesome. And now, here’s more about Toni!




Toni De Palma was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a child she spent many summers in Ischia, the Italian island where her father was brought up. Her first middle grade novel, Under the Banyan Tree, was published in 2007 and selected as a Kirkus New Voices Pick and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Her second middle grade novel, Jeremy Owl, was published in 2010. Her third book, The Devil’s Triangle, A YA paranormal is getting rave reviews. Toni holds her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and she is a recipient of a New Jersey Arts Fellowship. She currently resides in New Jersey.

Thanks for being here, Toni! And don’t forget to one-click her book, The Devil’s Temptation!

Like Gollum, @HMJonesWrites Is Fond of Rings

Apparently Christmas is coming whether you’re ready or not, but I hope you are! I don’t have a boring old Christmas post for you, though; I have something even better–an interview with author H.M. Jones. So strike a pose and let’s get to it!


Me: Why do you write?

H.M.: I write to express the pain, love, anger, joy, sorrow and fantasy of everyday life. I want people to see themselves in what I write, and to love or accept what they see. I also think literature reveals a lot about our place in time, societal norms and what is changing in the world. I want to be a part of that.

Me: Great answer! The supernatural – is it real? Why or why not?

H.M.: Real, of course. There is just so much out there that defies explanation. And, really, it’s just more fun to imagine that we aren’t alone, that there is more to discover, believe in, and imagine. Magic, ghosts, fairies, sprites, aliens, witches and warlocks have always made a story, real or imagined, more interesting.

Me: Agreed! You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?

H.M: I am immediately pummeled by aggressive hugs and squeals of “Momma!” So, I take that in and let it make me feel special and loved before doing anything else. Then, I check my many social networks. Not because I like to, really, but because I am my own marketing agent.

Me: Awww, that’s so sweet! I hear you on the whole marketing thing. Would you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

H.M.: I wish to be a pioneer, obviously. Decades from now, I want readers to be saying about new authors, “____ is the next H.M. Jones.”  I want to think of the unknown, but I also have a Master’s in English Literature, so I am aware that all I’ve written is probably rooted in something. So, while I hope I’ve stomped upon new ground, I understand that much of what I write rises from tread-upon ground. I embrace that and just try to leave a unique, slightly varied footprint where I step.

Me: That’s all we writers can do, right? 🙂 When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type, or do you like standard foods?

H.M.: I am adventurous in most things I do, almost to a fault. I will try anything once, and most things twice. I’ve eaten alligator, ants, beetles, various innards, countless seeds and seaweedy drinks. You name it, I would probably try it.

Me: Awesome! I like my bugs lightly salted and toasted. What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?

H.M.: It was either Alabama Shakes “Always Alright” or Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates.” Can’t remember. I listen to a lot of music.

Me: I do like me some Pantera but I’ve never heard of Alabama Shakes. I’ll go YouTube them shortly. Where did the idea for Monochrome come from?

H.M.: I had severe postpartum depression after I had my first child. The feelings of isolation and desperation and failure that came from PPD really generated a lot of awful thoughts. I turned those thoughts into a story because that’s just what I do when I am having a hard time processing life. Monochrome is a representation of the depressed mind, in all its empty, dreary ugliness. I wanted other mothers, other depressed persons to see their lives in a detached way (which is why I made Monochrome a fantasy), and, I, in turn, was able to see my life in its entirety, outside of my depression.

Me: Wow. Writing can truly be an excellent outlet. Sometimes it’s the only outlet! What’s the name of the book you’re reading?

H.M.: Currently, I am reading Aquila: Into the Darkness by an indie author from the UK, T.L. Searle, and Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I tend to read many things at once.

Me: What scares you?

H.M.: My own anger. And failure. And deep water. I am not a good swimmer.

Me: What’s your favorite planet?

H.M.: I haven’t been on many others, but I’m fond of our planet. It’s pretty beautiful and awe inspiring. If I could see another, it would be Saturn. Like Gollum, I’m fond of rings.

Me: Best. Answer. Ever! Would you rather live in a world where huge, friendly gummy bears walk around or live in a world where hover boards exist? Why?

H.M.: Huge gummy bears would be delicious and you’d never go hungry, but teeth rot is a serious issue. So, I would choose hover boards. I am so disappointed that they don’t exist yet. Back to the Future really set me up for numerous letdowns. I mean, is a body aware vest too much to ask for? Is it? I don’t think so…

Me: Yeah, I’m still waiting for self-tying shoes. Who has time to tie shoes anymore? No one, that’s who. What is something you’re really looking forward to?

H.M.: I am eagerly looking forward to my first book signing. I do a lot of my networking online, but I actually prefer face to face. As you can tell from this interview, I am super charming, or, at least, strange enough to be interesting and not repelling.

Me: Of course we can tell! Best of luck to you at your first book signing! 🙂 Do you have any strange writing quirks?

H.M.: I plot my story and what will happen next when I am running. It is the only time, as a mother of preschoolers, that I am alone, so I utilize it and think, uninterrupted, about where my story is, where it needs to go, and what I need to write in my loose outlines. I know that doesn’t sound relaxing, but it is. I feel like I’m accomplishing two goals at once: fitness and advancing my story.

Me: That’s the way to do it! I figure out story problems on the treadmill while stuffing my face with cookies. Does that count? Anyway, thanks so much for being here and answering my questions! Now here’s a bit more about Monochrome:




A young mother battles postpartum depression, marital troubles and addiction. Her weary mind plagued with horrible thoughts not her own, she decides to end it all. Suddenly, her mind and heart begin to race, her vision blurs and goes black. She awakes in a strange, dull, monochromatic blue world. Here, she comes face-to-face with the most beautiful and ugliest moments of her life, choosing those that she will lose forever, and those that are too precious to let go.


In a world where many choose a living death, and no one is above suspicion, will her handsome Guide help her fight her way back to the beautiful life she left behind, or will she succumb to her ugliest urges and let her sweetest memories disappear into the blue?


Find Monochrome on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. You can find  more about H.M Jones at her website.


Oh, and Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tiger Hunting In Kansas With @TracyMSimmons

Happy Labor Day to you all! Between your napping, travels, and/or barbeques, would you care to do a little tiger hunting with me? Yes, of course you would!


Actually, Tiger Hunting is a wonderful new adult story written by a fellow Kansan named Tracy Million Simmons. Fun fact – her niece just so happened to be my library aide last year, and it was through her that I learned about Tiger Hunting. I read the book, loved it (see my review here), and have since gotten to know Tracy. It turns out she’s awesome! Everyone should know her and read her book and beg her to crank the next one out. Oh, and also because she agreed to be interviewed by me!


Me: Did you learn anything today? If so, what?

Tracy: Today, specifically? It’s hard to tell. Sometimes lessons take a bit of time to sink in for me. I’ve been coming to the conclusion this past week that I am a much more productive girl when the schedule is packed and busy. I just made it through a rather relaxed week as far as schedule goes and rather than dedicate all my free time to writing, as I should have, I took a lot of naps.


Me: That’s okay, though. Naps help revive the brain! Where did the idea for Tiger Hunting come from?

Tracy: Tiger Hunting, quite literally, started with a dream. The opening scene to the book was something I scribbled in my journal years ago in the wee early hours of the morning as I was pulling myself from sleep. In 2009 I was looking for a fresh, new idea to work on for NaNoWriMo. I came across this description of a circus wreck in my journal and the dead dolphin on the road beside a Kansas wheat field. I decided to just follow it and see what happened. Tiger Hunting was eventually the result.


Me: I get ideas from dreams, too! What’s something about yourself that really annoys you?

Tracy: My inner critic can be pretty mean. I battle her frequently and sometimes have to resort to binding her mouth with duct tape in order to get anything done.


Me: I’ve learned that duct tape solves many of my problems. What’s the name of the book you’re reading?

Tracy: Saving Normal, by Allen Frances

The next fiction book on my to-read list is Expected, by Sarah England


Me: Pop or soda or soda pop or Coke?

Tracy: I call it soda, but I don’t drink it!


Me: Why do you write?

Tracy: If I didn’t write, I’m pretty sure my head would explode, and that would just be messy.

Seriously though, I think I write to figure out the world around me. My stories often start with things that perplex me about my fellow citizens. I make up characters to try to explain to myself why people behave the way they do.


Me: I agree with the whole head exploding thing. What’s the last song you listened to on purpose?

Tracy: Um… probably Thrift Shop. It’s got a beat that even I can dance to… and I’ve only got $20 in my pocket.


Me: HA! What makes you laugh?

Tracy: My kids. They are witty and wise and I like that they take the time to explain things to me when I just don’t get it.


Me: You just walked in the door after a long day. What do you do first?

Tracy: I sit down at my kitchen table, which is in the middle of the room our family calls “the project room” and I absorb the energy. I sit and listen and ask questions and try to catch up with what everyone is doing.

… and I eat cookies (or fill-in-the-black dessert), because there is usually someone in my house who has recently made a batch of cookies or is testing some new dessert recipe.


Me: I’m on my way to your house right now! Would you rather have hiccups for the rest of your life or feel like you need to sneeze but not be able to for the rest of your life? Why?

Tracy: Gosh. That’s a tough one. I think I’ll have to go with the sneeze because I inherited my hiccups from my mother. I rarely get them, thankfully, but when I/she would hiccup, it’s like full-blown chest spasms. I don’t know how to describe them except that they can be quite painful and for a full day after having had hiccups, I still feel them. It’s like recovering from a charley horse or pulled muscle. I can’t imagine life with them continually.


Me: They do hurt sometimes, don’t they? Do you have any strange writing quirks?

Tracy: Well… I’ve been known to summon the muse with essence of lavender, and long walks with no destination in mind often lead me to my most productive writing moments. I don’t know. Is that strange? Everything I do feels so oddly normal. My writing routine tends to change with the season and I am careful not to let myself get mired in one way of doing things.


Me: What’s the one physical object you can’t live without?

Tracy: Ten years ago I would have had an answer for this. Twenty years ago I would have given you a dozen answers. Today—while there are many people I hate to imagine my life without—I can honestly say that I could walk out the door and get by with leaving all the physical stuff behind. I’d eventually be searching for a writing instrument and a piece of paper, of course, but any old pen or pencil would do. I mean, I do have favorites, and I love my laptop, but I’m not attached to anything in particular.


Me: Would you consider yourself a pioneer or a settler? Why?

Tracy: I’m definitely a pioneer. I’ve always viewed my life as a journey. I hate to think that I might get to a destination and allow myself to grow mentally stale or stagnant. Life is expansive, and if you want to experience it fully, I think you have to keep exploring, keep looking at the world in new and different ways. Or, perhaps better said, I have always hoped that when I arrive at that settled feeling, it will be because I have decided my time here is done and I will be ready to peacefully journey on to someplace else.



See what I mean, people! She’s awesome!


Here’s a bit more about Tracy and Tiger Hunting. You should go check her and her book out!




When Jeni returns to her childhood home in western Kansas, she never imagines that she’ll be hunting a white tiger escaped from the circus or competing with an ape for the affections of the boy she once loved. While she waits for the man she’s left behind to notice she’s not coming back, she reconnects with her family and works to pick up the pieces of her life.


About Tracy:




Tracy Million Simmons is a Kansas Arts Commission mini-fellowship winner, a Kansas Voices honorable mention, and a member and the yearbook editor of the Kansas Authors Club.


Tracy’s Links:









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